How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions? Are you challenging yourself to live according to the goals you set? Months ago, I was challenged by a friend to pick a word for 2020. I’ve seen many of you have, as well. After reading through 1000 alphabetically listed words, I finally landed on the word Embrace. According to Vines, the Biblical definition means to clasp or take one in the arms. Wow! What a picture!
Think about being wrapped in your dad’s arms. Can you remember a time of him holding you and caring for your needs, emotions, or giving you kind words? I was reminded of this feeling this week when my granddaughter tripped over her Peepa rain boots on a nice sunny day on the driveway and scraped her knee. As she ran over to me, she kept saying, “hug me!” as she took my arms and wrapped them around her. Some moments may be from your childhood after scoring low on a test, high school after a breakup, or at your wedding before you walked down the aisle.
Now think about the image of Jesus. Esther Dorotik wrote,
“Our God stepped in between us and with the bite of death, flung His arms around the cross, turned His back on His own life, and crouched over us in surrender to death.”
My Jesus embraced the cross, yielding himself to the calling. Psalms 46:1 says God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Do you see him as our shelter, protector, powerful and limitless Father? All that is required of me is to grasp His gift, accept His grace, and firmly believe His truths. I never want to miss out on the moments God has designed for me. I want to continually run after Him as He says tender words and hug Him as He wraps His Loving Hands around me.
So, what is stopping you or me from being continually in relationship with our God? Better yet, in the slow motion of life, what have you been frantically looking for as an escape route? Is it fears, past hurts, anger, time, priorities, or commitments that are guiding your actions? Our world teaches us every day that we need to be dependent solely upon ourselves by having a voice, standing up for ourselves, being independent, and being strong. Living within these guidelines usually leads to disappointment.
Have you ever been hurt by a friend, rejected for a promotion, or lied to? The world tells us to be defensive and seek revenge. However, living a godly life requires me to unlearn the lesson the world has taught me. Instead of living according to the world’s standards, we should be crying out to God. He is ready and waiting.
When I relinquish my own plans and expectations, Jesus meets me where I am and wraps me in His presence. Romans 8:38-39 says,
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Read it again. Nothing can separate us from the love of the Lord.
Have you ever been asked why you are not doing what the Lord has asked you to do? I know I have. Thankfully, there are Godly friends in my life who hold me accountable. When I am out of step in my thinking or walk, they call me back. Many times, those words are hard to hear and sting. When this happens, I check my heart and understand their motives.
This past year some of my friends asked me why I wasn’t doing what I knew what the Lord had called me to do. My first reaction was to be defensive and question them. Truthfully, I knew what was holding me back. Fear. Instead of being wrapped in His presence I was trying to protect myself. I, like Moses, said I was not qualified. I was rejecting the Lord’s care for me. I was running scared instead of seeking His gracious hands to carry me through the situation.
Looking back, I know the Lord was asking me to be bold in my faith and step out so he could prove how faithful he was. These friends were calling me to live out Hebrews 10:23-24 which says,
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”
Oh, the blessings we will receive if we boldly say yes Lord! One of the hosts on Air 1 Radio says his prayers every morning start with, “Yes, Lord! Now what is the question/situation/ or direction I can serve you today?” Our yes, places us firmly in the arms of our caring Father.
Each day this year I am attempting to faithfully embrace the situations the Lord brings me. Maybe you are embracing a new relationship, loss of a friend or family member, or a new job opportunity. Lysa TerKeurst challenges her family every Christmas to give a gift to the Lord. This year her husband has committed to say a kind word, do an act of service, or help someone financially each day. He wants to make a difference in someone’s life every single day. By the end of the year, he will have reached 365 people. In her book Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely, Lysa says, “God’s love isn’t based on me. It’s simply placed on me. And it’s the place from which I should live . . . loved.”
Today, I choose to embrace God’s calling of me and walk through faith where others can see His arms wrapped around me. No matter the situation, the Lord will meet me there and walk beside me. Instead of being swayed by the whims of the world, let us rest, held tightly in the hands of our Father. Oh, what a faithful Lord we serve!
Women’s Ministry Leader